Orange Rivers

Published by DonDavidson on

The Brooks Range is a sparsely populated mountain range located north of the Arctic Circle in northern Alaska and northwestern Canada. Named for geologist Alfred Hulse Brooks in 1925, these mountains stretch about 700 miles from west to east. The rugged Dalton Highway, which runs from near Fairbanks to Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s north shore, passes through the Brooks Range via the Atigun Pass.

In this remote and majestic area of the country, something strange is happening—rivers are turning orange.  And scientists believe climate change is the culprit. [1]

Earth is gradually warming due to the release of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere as a result of human activity—primarily the burning of fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. And nowhere is the Earth warming more or faster than in the Arctic.

Those warmer temperatures are thawing layers of permafrost—that is, ground that is normally frozen year-round. As the permafrost thaws, iron and other elements[2] are freed from their icy prisons and washed into nearby rivers—including about 75 such rivers across northern Alaska, none of which are located near roads or mines that might otherwise account for the discoloration. The orange color of the water apparently results from iron in the water reacting with oxygen in the atmosphere—oxidation like what causes old iron tools to rust. Water samples taken from several of these rivers also showed elevated acidity compared to other nearby rivers.

The dramatic increase in these toxic elements, as well as the greater acidity of the water, threatens the fish, plants, and other creatures that live in the affected rivers, and could have adverse impacts on food and drinking water supplies for the humans and animals that depend on the rivers for their subsistence.

To learn more about what climate change is, how it is impacting our world, and how it might be fulfilling biblical prophecy, read Chapter 11 of my book, Beyond Blind Faith, entitled “Apocalypse Soon.” You can read it in its entirety for free on this website. Just click here, or click on “Don’s Books” at the top of this page and go to the “List of Contents” under my book, Beyond Blind Faith.

[1]. This blog entry is based in part on the following sources:

“Alaska’s waters are turning orange — but don’t blame mining,” by Hannah Northey and Samantha Latson, 6/4/2024, found at:,orange%20in%20the%20last%20decade.

“Metal mobilization from thawing permafrost to aquatic ecosystems is driving rusting of Arctic streams,” by Jonathan A. O’Donnell, Michael P. Carey Joshua C. Koch, Carson Baughman, Kenneth Hill, Christian E. Zimmerman, Patrick F. Sullivan, Roman Dial, Timothy Lyons, David J. Cooper, & Brett A. Poulin, published May 20, 2024, found at:

“Brooks Range,” on the website for Wikipedia, found at:

“Driving Alaska’s Dalton Highway Is the Most Remote and Epic Road Trip in the US,” by Eben Diskin, 12/13/2022, found at:

[2]. For example, copper, zinc, nickel, cobalt, cadmium, lead, arsenic, and manganese


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